Thursday, November 14, 2013

Scientists ‘Alarmed’ and ‘Puzzled’: Hundreds of sea turtles washing up dead on Pacific coast

via ENENews

Scientists ‘Alarmed’ and ‘Puzzled’: Hundreds of sea turtles washing up dead on Pacific coast — Dogs “stopped breathing and died almost instantly” when eating them — Researchers analyzing toxicity — Many with reproductive problems

AFP, Nov. 12, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Hundreds of sea turtles are washing up dead on the beaches of Central America and scientists don’t know why. One hypothesis is that the killer is a potent neurotoxin that can be produced by algae during red tides, [...] What puzzles scientists is the fact that red tides have come and gone before without taking such a deadly toll on turtles. [...] In El Salvador, for instance, from late September to the middle of October, 114 sea turtles were discovered dead on Pacific coast [...] Scientists throughout Central America are alarmed [...] The death toll elsewhere is high — 115 so far this year in Guatemala, 280 in Costa Rica and an undisclosed number in Nicaragua. Another 200 died in late 2012 in Panama. And in Nicaragua there is yet another problem: turtles showed up weeks late, at the end of September, to crawl up onto the beach and lay their eggs. [...] In one area of El Salvador’s coast, dogs that started eating dead turtles stopped breathing and died almost instantly. [...] in September scientists in Honduras said turtles on one beach laid 40 per cent fewer eggs. [...]

Costa Rica Star, Nov. 12, 2013: [...] Fishermen and maritime tour operators in the Guanacaste province found more than 40 dead sea turtles on Tuesday, November 5th, and immediately alerted nature conservation officials. Marine biologists are still looking into the possible causes for these massive deaths, which extend throughout the Pacific coast of Central America. [...] [They may] have run into nets and fishing hooks. They also present signs of concussions near their skulls. Still, researchers are conducting pathological analyses to rule out toxicity.[...] Researchers in Costa Rica, however, are leaning towards a neurological syndrome [...]

See also: Fishermen report boats surrounded by hundreds of dead Eastern Pacific green sea turtles -- Official says some found swimming in circles as if dazed or confused

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